The winter storms had played havoc with the Devon Coast line over the months prior to the race but, apart from one minor diversion leaving Sidmouth and a few fallen trees, the Coastal Path survived pretty well. There was still a fair amount of mud around but by and large the route had dried out and the day itself was blessed with good weather in compensation for losing an hour’s sleep with the clock’s moving forward overnight.
The coastal route was looking at its very best and the 178 starters set off from the mouth of the River Exe in Exmouth with great enthusiasm. Some of that euphoria dissipated over the 22 miles of Coastal Path and indeed 6 runners were obliged to pull out from injury but the rest usually raised a triumphant smile as they crossed the finish line.
A slight south easterly head wind was just enough to cool down some of the quicker runners without materially slowing them down and Michael Robinson, having last year finished 2nd (after taking a wrong turn on the final stretch), revelled in the conditions. He said before the race that he couldn’t wait to do it again and came home a convincing winner this time in 2 hours 48 minutes, having led all the way. David Parrott appearing for the first time ran a well judged race and took second place, overtaking local runner Patrick Devine- Wright on the last section from Branscombe.
There was an interesting tussle amongst the girls. Jane Allison set off strongly but was caught by Lin Lascelles at the half way mark. Lin, who had by that time also unusually dropped her husband kept up the pressure to win comfortably in 3 hours 17.35 for 12th position overall. Jane simultaneously went through a bad patch and was overtaken by Amy Greenhaigh but hung on for a well deserved 3rd place.
The relay race was boosted this year by a group of 18 runners from the Dacorum & Tring Club who were rewarded when the pairing of Steve Russell and Alex Deane finishing in 3 hours 44.07 took the first spot much to the delight of the rest of the contingent.